Georgia Legalizes Decriminalizes Medical Marijuana
After many decades of inconvenience, medical cannabis also known as marijuana has finally been legalized in Georgia for medical uses. House Bill 885 was signed into law at 11 a.m. on April 16th, 2015 by Republican governor Nathan Deal. The act is called Haleigh’s Hope Act.
The act is named for Haleigh Cox, a 5-year-old girl with medication-resistant epilepsy. Haleigh was on the brink of death and her parents had to move her to Colorado, where medical cannabis was legal. It was the only thing that would work to keep her alive. This particular case prompted the legalization of cannabis oil in GA.
However, the new Georgia law is still extremely restrictive. The only thing that is legal is cannabis oil, not any other form of cannabis. The cannabis oil is only allowed to have a low ThC level, no more than 5 percent. The federal law remains the same; marijuana is federally illegal to grow or sell, despite what the state law says.
The medical marijuana law only allows patients with a few specific disorders to be diagnosed with a prescription for it. These disorders include cancer, Crohn’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, mitochondrial disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, seizure disorders and sickle cell disease. The only distributor that is currently in Georgia is the Halcyon Organics in Little Five Points. Cultivation is still not legal in Georgia.
Haleigh’s Hope Act is indeed a step forward towards marijuana decriminalization even if this act is incredibly minimal and restrictive.
D.C. Legalizes Personal Use Marijuana
Personal possession of marijuana legal in Washington D.C. has become the law today!
Andrew Lynch Awarded Super Lawyer’s Rising Legal Star Status 2015
Andrew Lynch was awarded the status of Super Lawyer’s Rising Star 2015 for the area of Criminal Defense. This award is only given to the top 2.5% of lawyers throughout the county. Click here to see more.
“Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.”
Marijuana: Is the Whole Plant Illegal? No!
This is a forgotten issue but has reduced many marijuana cases from trafficking to felony possession, when the state is weighing a marijuana plant the entire plant is not criminalized by the state of Georgia. In short the stalk of the plant should not, but is sometimes included, in the weight of marijuana presented in court.
An example why this important. If you are prosecuted for marijuana trafficking and the weight is close to the legal cutoff for trafficking, for instance if you are being prosecuted for eleven pounds, the stalks generally carry a third of the plants weight.
“Marijuana” is defined by O.C.G.A. 16-13-21 as “all parts of the plant of the genus Cannabis, whether growing or not, the seeds thereof, the resin extracted from any part of such plant, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds, or resin; . . . and shall not include the completely defoliated mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil, or cake, or the completely sterilized samples of seeds of the plant which are incapable of germination.”
Dekalb County District Attorney’s Dialogue on Diversion Programs Overview March 25, 2014
Recently the Dekalb District Attorney’s office invited the local criminal defense bar to a lunch and learn to make sure their clients had all the knowledge about programs designed to give members of our community a second chance when facing a felony criminal indictment.
This talk made news in the legal newspaper Daily Report.
In short, the District Attorney’s office reviewed eligibility for the Dekalb County Recorder Court’s Diversion Program, Felony Superior Court Pre-Trial Diversion Programs and ARC programs, Drug Court, and Mental Health Treatment Courts.
Generally speaking, diversion programs are an option for first time nonviolent offenders. Usually upon completion all felony charges are dismissed. The program’s requirements very but usually are not as difficult as felony probation and expungement of the arrest is usually included when completed.
Drug courts will allow persons with prior convictions to be admitted, but require a plea to the drugs that will be withdrawn upon completion of the program but if the program is not completed then the Judge may enter the plea of guilty and consider the appropriate sentence. The point of Drug Court is to focus on treatment and sobriety.
A mental health court is an option for persons with mental health diagnosis who have a stable home life. Essentially the program is 18 months long and has no fees. Participants focus on treating and stabilizing their mental health issues. Upon completion their charges are dismissed.